Mike Carter -- USA Today

Former Ohio State Quarterback Cornelius Green Defends J.T. Barrett

In response to Ohio State's offensive struggles toward the end of the season, BSB spoke with a number of former Buckeyes to get their thoughts on what went wrong and what needs to be done and their opinion of quarterback J.T. Barrett. Next up in the series is quarterback Cornelius Green.

One of the most successful signal callers in Ohio State history, Cornelius Green, whose last name was spelled “Greene” during his playing days, knows a thing or two about playing quarterback for the Buckeyes. But, like many others, he recognized that the offense had some issues last season.

In Green’s opinion, the blame shouldn’t be placed solely on the quarterback’s shoulders, though.

“Our offensive line was inconsistent and we had weak wide receiver play,” Green said when asked what happened to the Ohio State offense.

In order to improve the offense, Green suggested that the Buckeyes need to establish the running game, which never happened against Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.

“I would have a consistent running game to up the passing game,” he said. “You can’t expect to throw the ball effectively if you can’t establish the running game. And, I guess like everybody else, I’d like some fresh play-calling. It looks like they’re changing some coaches to do that.”

Known as a running quarterback at Ohio State, Green’s skill set isn’t entirely different from Barrett’s. Though Barrett plays in an offense that throws the ball much more often while Green played for the run-oriented Woody Hayes, the duo still have similarities.

When asked about Barrett, Green was quick to defend the quarterback, saying the players around him made it difficult for him to succeed against the Tigers.

“I love J.T.,” Green said. “I think the O-line failed them, especially against Clemson, and inconsistent route-running by wide receivers happened all year. Take that plus the play-calling and you have an offense that just couldn’t get anything going.”

Green added that he expects Ohio State to be fine offensively going forward and noted that people calling for a change at quarterback need to remember how important Barrett’s experience can be.

“I know there’s a quarterback logjam now with J.T. coming back and a lot of people like Joe Burrow and Dwayne Haskins,” he said. “But those two have no experience other than looking good in practice. J.T. is the returning co-Big Ten Player of the Year, so don’t tell me they’re going to open the competition for the starter. Besides, with that kid (Tate) Martell coming in, I think he’s going to jump ahead of Burrow and Haskins.”

No matter who plays quarterback for the Buckeyes, Green noted that the players catching the passes must improve.

“You’d better get some receivers who can get separation because even the best quarterback can’t complete a pass if there’s no one open,” he said.

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